An antibiotic is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections. Antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections as they may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria.

All medications can have side effects. However, there is a line of antibiotics called the fluoroquinolones which can have especially serious side effects. More commonly prescribed fluoroquinolone antibiotics include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), and ofloxacin (Floxin).

In 2008, the FDA added black box warnings on all fluoroquinolones, advising of the increased risk of tendon damage. In 2016, the FDA found that this line of antibiotics could cause “disabling and potentially permanent serious side effects” which can involve the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system. The FDA then said that serious side effects generally outweighed the benefits for people with acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections when other treatment options are available. Concerns regarding low blood sugar and mental health problems were added in 2018.

However, doctors do not always heed the FDA warnings and are continuing to prescribe the medication unnecessarily. When side effects occur, doctors often do not know how to treat them. As a result, many online communities have sprouted up where patients harmed by these drugs give each other advice and support. Those who have been harmed by this line of antibiotics often refer to themselves as ‘floxies.’

Some of the Known Serious Side of Fluoroquinolone:

● Long-term pain
● Pain, burning, tingling, pins and needles, numbness, weakness
● Symptoms affecting tendons, muscles, and joints, including swelling, pain, and tendon rupture
● Symptoms that lasted longer than a year
● Depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide or other changes in mental health
● Sensation changes or nerve damage in hands, feet, arms, or legs
● Dramatic impact on quality of life such as job loss, financial problems, and increased family tension
● Increase in ruptures or tears in the aorta, which is the main artery in the body
● Significant drops in blood sugar levels

Links and Resources

Press articles on the dangers of fluoroquinolones

Empirical Research/ Peer Reviewed Journal Articles on Fluoroquinolones

Online Support: